Uncommon Decency
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54. Waging Jihad in Today's Europe, with Hugo Micheron & Petter Nesser

France looks back on November 13, 2015 with a mix of pain and horror. That day, a group of ISIS-trained jihadists launched coordinated attacks on the Bataclan nightclub, the Stade de France, and a handful of Parisian cafés. The onslaught left 130 dead, shell-shocked French public opinion, and forced a reckoning across Europe about the threat from radicalization. In September 2021, the French Republic trialed Salah Abdeslam, the only author of the November 2015 attacks to have survived, along with 20 other defendants. The months-long case was an opportunity to serve justice for the victims and to better understand how a slaughter of such scale was possible in the heart of a major European city. It also appeared to close a bloody chapter of European history, since no further attacks of that magnitude have followed. Those committed against the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, in Nice, Brussels, Manchester and many other places also seem to be on the rearview mirror. To lure us further into complacency, ISIS has been militarily defeated whilst Europe’s counter-terrorism capacities have considerably improved. Yet for radicalization experts, we would be naïve to believe the danger has passed. This week, we sought to get a better sense of the past, present and future of jihadism in Europe by speaking to two of them: Hugo Micheron, a returnee to the show, one of the expert witnesses in the Abdeslam trial and the author of Jihadisme Européen (2022), and Petter Nesser of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment.

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